Boar training 1 – efficient management and handling
Maximise productivity with correct handling
A new DanBred boar is not just an animal, but rather it represents an extraordinary genetic potential for reproductive performance within the sow herd. Furthermore, on-farm AI boars reduce the risk of disease transmission when introducing superior DanBred genes into the sow herd. The correct training of DanBred boars form the basis for many successful collections in the future and represent the onset of obtaining the maximum productivity.
Achieve lifetime production & maximum productivity
The purebred DanBred boar reaches sexual maturity by the age of 6-7 months- at that time it will be eager to mount the dummy and be able to produce semen. By 8 months of age, the boars are able to deliver sperm counts adequate for use in a breeding program.
If the boars have been group housed they should be separated and placed in individual pens at least 14 days prior to beginning training. This is done to protect the boars, as their strong sexual instincts can lead to damaging fights. When training boars for semen collection the key word is patience.
Devote the time it takes to train a young boar and be calm and consistent, as this will be beneficial and rewarded in productivity. Training will be more efficient if boars are trained in keeping with their natural sexual instincts- this will also lay the foundation for a long-term positive association, increasing lifetime production (DPRC, 2018)
Begin boar training by introducing the dummy sow into the pen. To induce interest to the dummy place some feed on it. Give the boar some minutes alone to explore the dummy.
To encourage the boar to mount the dummy, put some previously collected semen directly onto the dummy- the smell from another mature boar can trigger the boar in training into mounting the dummy.
Most boars will mount the dummy during one of the first few training sessions. Once the boar mounts the dummy, slowly enter the pen. Talk calmly to the boar and stroke his sides, testes and prepuce and try to collect from the boar, while giving encouragement all the time. When collecting lock the penis in a firm grip and collect the ejaculate. During the collection examine the penis for abnormalities or anatomical issues (i.e., limp penis, persistent frenulum).
Always praise the boar after a successful training session. Train the boars for 10-15 minutes a day, to uphold their interest.
Successful training of a new boar should take no more than 4 weeks (DPRC, 2018).
Easy steps for training of DanBred boars
Keep the boars interested and easier to work with by feeding them in the morning or after training.
- Train the boars for 10-15 minutes a day.
- Keep track of the training sessions and the progress in a scheme for each boar.
- Ensure the boar is comfortable with human contact.
- Provide calm surroundings and keep the pen clean, dry and well-lit.
- Adjust the height of the dummy to match the size of the boar (wherever possible).
Help the boars stay focused on the training, by:
- Using the boars own pen.
- Keeping other boars out of sight.
- Placing the dummy in the middle of the pen.
Stimulate the boars interest in the dummy by:
- Placing some feed on the dummy.
- Letting an older, mature boar mount the dummy beforehand.
- Lightly gripping the preputial diverticulum.
- Gently pushing the boar away from the dummy, without scaring the boar.
If the boar actively mounts the dummy:
- Slowly enter the pen.
- Stimulate sides, testes and prepuce.
- Gently attempt a collection.
- Keep talking and give encouragement to the boar.
If the boar does not show any interest:
- Remove the dummy and leave the boar.
- Repeat the procedure after a couple of days
- Reward the boar with a treat after a successful training session
Once the boar starts to mount the dummy without hesitation, do the first real collection.
- Let the boar mount the dummy.
- Lock the penis in a firm grip.
- Collect the ejaculate.
- Examine the penis for abnormalities or anatomical issues.
- Keep talking and give encouragement to the boar.
- Reward the boar with a treat
Once the boar starts to mount the dummy without hesitation, repeat the collection for 3 days in a row (for experience), then let the boar rest for a few days before collecting again.
Training is complete when the boar mounts the dummy confidently each time and the laboratory analysis confirms that the quality of semen meet your expectations.
Semen collected during training should be examined for quality analysis.
Do not use semen collected during training for insemination, unless the result of the analysis is approved within your quality standards.
When training is complete the boar should be collected no more than twice a week, until the age of 12 months where the collection interval can be increased to a maximum of 5 times a week.
Danish Pig Research Centre (DPRC); H6C – Intern KS – Tapning af orne (2018): Online, Manual om repromanagement. SEGES Videncenter for Svineproduktion. Retrieved 08/05/19 https://svineproduktion.dk/Viden/I-stalden/Management/Manualer/Repro
Estienne, M. & Harper, A. (2000) Swine Artificial Insemination Programs: Techniques for Training Boars for Semen Collection, Virginia Cooperative Extension Newsletter, Virginia Tech, Virginia state university, Livestock Update, January 2000. Retrieved online 08/05/19 https://www.sites.ext.vt.edu/newsletter-archive/livestock/aps-00_01/aps-0178.html